Feb 17, 2012

June 8, 1967: Central Park, NYC


450 at the Band Shell Hear Electric-Guitar Combos

Hippies armed with electric guitars occupied the band shell at the Mall in Central Park yesterday and opened up their musical artillery. An audience of about 450 withstood the two-and-a-half-hour barrage.
About half the audience was composed of hippies, from 15 to 32 years old. The rest appeared to be passers-by.
Earlier this week the Parks Department barred such musical entertainment at the amphitheater in Tompkins Square Park, on the Lower East Side. But it gave permission for the use of the Central Park bandshell from 2 to 5 p.m. yesterday,
A combo called the Group Image - five electric guitars plus drums - achieved a sound at times that suggested a derailed freight train plunging over a cliff. Then a group called the Grateful Dead came on with electronically amplified variations on rock 'n' roll music.
The young people, some with bare feet and others wearing sandals or socks, did some moderately contortionate dancing at first. But then the pace quickened, and soon they were jumping around like rag dolls being jerked by wires.
"Part of our thing is to try to turn people on with our music, because if you're up tight, you can't relax," said Laird C. Grant of the Grateful Dead.
"I'm a pothead," a young man said amiably, walking by with a kitchen pot on his head.

(from the New York Times, June 9 1967)
Thanks to snow & rain at the Transitive Axis forum.


  1. Laird Grant was the Dead's roadie.

    The Dead had played a free concert in Tompkins Square Park on June 1, their first show on arriving in NYC.

    Charles Mingus watched the Dead at the Central Park show, as Lesh mentions in his book.

    A video of the Group Image, from 1969 - well worth watching:

    1. This video is no longer available on youtube

    2. Then try this instead, an alternate copy of the same TV clip:

  2. I also included this article in a longer post about the Dead's June 1967 NYC visit:

  3. http://tinyurl.com/deadpark67 is a copy of the NY Times article from the next day